Middle East Shares Mostly Ease Ahead of FOMC Meeting

MidEast stocks mostly declined as investors braced for a U.S. interest rate increase after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Investors were also keeping an eye on the upcoming Saudi Arabian state budget for 2017, expected later this month. Some speculate the 2016 deficit will be smaller than expected and oil prices will continue to stay firm after a deal among OPEC countries to cut production. However, investors also expect more domestic fuel subsidy cuts in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian pound hit an all time low against the U.S dollar on Monday, trading at 18.50 pounds.

In company news, Knowledge Economic City said it had sold land to hospital operator Mouwasat for a capital gain of 32 million riyals ($8.5 million), which would be reflected in its Q4 results.

Arab Petroleum Investments Corp bought 30% of Falcon Cement Co from GFH. The companies did not disclose a purchase price but GFH has previously valued Falcon at $120 million.

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